The comparisons stopped when the clock struck 0:00 last night and the Boston Celtics had clinched title No. 17. Anyone with a hint of basketball knowledge now knows what many of us have been saying for years.
There is only one Michael Jordan. No heir apparent, no second coming, nothing.
That is not an indictment against Kobe Bryant, who is still IMO the best player in The League right now, though he didn't look the part in an NBA Finals that would have removed him from under the shadow of former teammate Shaquille O'Neal.
In last night's 131-92 behind-the-woodshed beating by the C's Bryant went 4-7 in an 11-point first quarter on his way to 22 points for the game. He looked good in the opening stanza, even jawed with a Celtics fan saying, "Not tonight."
He was 3 for 15 the rest of the way. Finishing 7 for 22.
There was no desire to work the ball or to get his teammates involved. They were in panic mode before the end of the first half. Of the Lakers starters Lamar Odom had the 2nd most field goal attempts with eight and Pau Gasol is still listed as missing. The remaining starters minus Bryant took 25 attempts to Bryant's 22.
The best way to get back into a game is to work yourself into a rhythm. Unfortunately, for Bryant and the Lakers they were a 45rpm and the Celtics were grooving at 33-and-one-third rpm.
If Jordan had nothing else he had a unmatched will to win, whether it was battling through tendonitis or the "Flu Game" Mike could will himself and his teammates to victory.
I didn't see that will in Bryant's eyes last night, but I did see a light—which turned out to be an oncoming train.